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The Truth About Cows Raised For Human Consumption


Animal Equality is committed to documenting the terrible fate of the cows who are exploited by the meat and dairy industries.

Our investigative team has captured images and footage from around the world showing the harsh living conditions, unavoidable suffering, and sometimes deliberately brutal abuse that they are subjected to.

The evidence we have gathered over the years shows calves being beaten and force-fed in the UK, pregnant cows being slaughtered in Brazil, and calves being left outside to die in freezing temperatures in the US.

As well as documenting animal abuse, Animal Equality’s investigative team in Brazil has uncovered the devastating environmental impact of beef production in the Pantanal, one of the world’s most biodiverse areas.

Behind all of this suffering and destruction are industries that treat cows as machines in order to generate profits. Immense suffering cannot be avoided; calves will always be separated from their mothers, females in the dairy industry will always be exploited for their milk, and males will be killed for their flesh. That’s why the animal agriculture industry – relentless in its pursuit of profits – is so careful not to reveal what is happening behind closed doors.

For this reason, Animal Equality’s investigators took their cameras where those industries do not want them to go: onto the trucks that transport cows across countries and continents, up into the air above the Amazon Rainforest where whole habitats are burned, and inside the intensive farms and slaughterhouses where cows are confined and slaughtered, all to show the public what really happens.

Pregnant Cows Killed in a Slaughterhouse (Brazil)

In Brazil, we published a shocking investigation into the brutal practice of slaughtering pregnant cows. The suffering of these animals and the calves they carry is beyond belief.

We are urging the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply to ban this cruel practice and to sanction those who have committed serious crimes of animal abuse.

Calves Brutally Handled and Force-Fed (United Kingdom)

An Animal Equality investigation conducted into a UK organic dairy farm revealed shocking scenes of distressed calves being brutally handled and force-fed. The farm was a known supplier of Waitrose supermarkets.

The images captured by our investigators also showed the forced separation of mother cows from their calves, an inescapable part of the dairy industry.

Behind Italian Buffalo Mozzarella (Italy)

The dairy industry does not only exploit cows – other animals are also used, including buffaloes. More than half a million buffaloes are bred every year in Italy, which are increasingly confined to intensive farms. Working with journalist, Giulia Innocenzi, and the former parliamentarian, Paolo Bernini, we uncovered what happens during the production of buffalo mozzarella, not only in Campania, but also in Northern Italy.

We documented the terrible and unsanitary conditions these animals are made to endure, including buffaloes forced to live in so much urine and faeces that it reaches their knees, male buffaloes left to die of hunger and thirst, and dead buffaloes abandoned near others who are still alive.

Baby Hell: Calves Freeze to Death (USA)

Animal Equality released images obtained by an undercover investigator who infiltrated a giant American ranch that is home to over 11,000 calves and a supplier to the group that makes cheese for the well-known brand, Babybel.

The images show the immeasurable psychological pain of these calves who are separated from their mothers only half an hour after birth, after which they suffer nothing but life-long suffering and violence. They live in such extreme conditions that some of them die in agony, in the cold, with no one to care for them.

Deforestation and Farming (Brazil)

Aside from extreme cruelty to animals, one of the most serious consequences of intensive cattle farming is deforestation.

Forests are a vital part of the world’s ecosystem, absorbing harmful gases like carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities.

When deforestation occurs, then, it strips the Earth of vital protection from the devastating effects of climate change.

Animal Equality released an investigation documenting the destructive environmental impact that intensive farming has on the Amazon rainforest, one of our planet’s most precious resources.

The Cruelty of the Milk Industry (United Kingdom)

Animal Equality investigators filmed an organic UK dairy farm which supplied milk to Marks & Spencer, a supermarket that promotes itself as a leader in animal welfare standards.

The images that our investigators captured show calves confined in small solitary pens for up to six months, breaking British animal welfare law which states that calves should be moved to group pens at the age of eight weeks. As sensitive and sociable animals, this isolation is unbearably difficult for the animals.

Tragically, separating calves from their mothers within days of birth remains standard practice in the dairy industry – simply so the farms can take their milk and sell it to major supermarkets and retailers. This legal and routine practice is inherent within the dairy industry and causes immense suffering to both the mother and the calf.

Through our investigations and our lobbying, Animal Equality is uncovering the truth about factory farming and pushing governments for change. Having achieved major legislative victories for animals in countries around the world, we know that change is possible. But we cannot do it alone.

We are a UK registered charity and rely on the generous support of the public to carry out our work. Our highly-experienced team of investigators are in the field conducting investigations into some of the largest meat companies, but we need you in order to show the world what they find and to achieve concrete change for animals.

Please support our work uncovering animal abuse and exploitation by making a donation today.


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